Re-educating clients on statistics

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Ten years ago I remember sitting with our clients and trying to prise them away from hits to page impressions (which later became ‘page views’).

Now, we’re doing the same by moving from page impressions to insight.

Page impressions are great for advertising. Well actually they’re OK for advertising for two related reasons:

  1. As long as adverts are sold in per-thousand-impressions (CPM), advertisers will stick with page impressions
  2. Ad agencies have historically been very slow to adopt new business models and retrain their sales staff. See the slow adoption of CTR (Click Through Rates) as one of the most recent examples.

Insight is far more important as a measurement than page impressions. Consider what’s more important: gaining more information about a specific behaviour or preference about all your customers so that you can understand them better, or knowing that you have n million page impressions per month, and that traffic has changed by x% last month?

It’s a very interesting debate. I remember having heated discussions with customers ten years ago after they’d gone white after hearing that their traffic went from x million hits to y thousand page impressions per month. However once they had understood the new metrics, they found their rewards in the new CPM advertising business models of the day.

The new debate is a fundamental shift. We’re not talking units of measurement any more. The calculations for insight are more difficult to quantify. However the brands that adopt true consumer insight are going to be making profits in different orders of magnitude to the old models.

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